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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/27/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Grass-favoring 3-year-old fillies abound in Saturday's $54,800 Hatoof Stakes, but one with the chance to be the best of all of them has never run on turf.

That would be Sharon R. Morgan's Defuhr, an Illinois-bred sophomore daughter of the grass sire Langfuhr out of an It's Freezing mare. Nine out of her 11 rivals on Saturday have shown a preference for grass competition, but Defuhr is likely to be overlooked in the wagering because she has no track record over the lawn. Nevertheless, on breeding alone, Defuhr gets great marks on the green.

"That's what we're hoping for," said trainer John Wainwright Friday morning, well aware of Defuhr's potential. "I think this could be a great chance for her."

As the undercard stakes in support of the featured $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, Saturday's Hatoof also serves as the final major local prep for the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes for grass-favoring 3-year-old fillies on Sept. 18. Any demonstrated affinity over Arlington's turf course this weekend would vault Defuhr into that stakes three weeks from now.

Defuhr's Saturday scenario might be a reprise of William Lydon & Carson Springs Farm's Ms. Lydonia's winning effort in Wednesday's feature. That sophomore daughter of the grass sire Labeeb, trained by Christine Janks, also won at first asking over the turf despite facing rivals more familiar with competition on the green.

To date Defuhr has visited the winner's circle three times in 14 trips to the post on the main track. One problem compromising her form is a tendency to be fractious in the gate.

"We've been working on that for two years," said Wainwright. "Still, she has her good days and her bad days."

One of the bad days came in this year's $85,850 Purple Violet Stakes June 26, when she finished a well-beaten sixth (behind Ms. Lydonia, among others). One of her good days had come in her previous Arlington effort May 21, when she broke in full stride to make the pace throughout and held on willingly late to tally by a half.


William Dorminy's Sean's Baby, a daughter of 1995 Kentucky Derby and Travers winner Thunder Gulch, is another member of the distaff set whose best days appear to be in front of her as she comes into Saturday's $54,800 Hatoof Stakes.

"We think she's an 'up-and-comer,'" said trainer Tom Amoss, who will be in Louisiana Downs Saturday while his assistant Frank Bernis saddles Sean's Baby in the Hatoof.

Sean's Baby showed some of that perceived potential when she came from far back to draw off for a four and a quarter-length score in a mile and a sixteenth grass test at Ellis Park July 28. Before that she had finished second, beaten only a half-length, in a similar test at Churchill Downs July 3.

"She's very English-looking," said Amoss. "She's very long through the body, and physically, it's going to take some time for her to come around. But she seems to improve a little each time. If she runs well Saturday, we'll absolutely consider starting her in the Pucker Up (Grade III, Sept. 18). This race is an ideal prep for that."


With a name like Logan's Draw, and an ownership called Blackjack Thoroughbreds, the suspicion would be that the horse -- a 2-year-old colt -- might have been won in a card game.

"No, that's not it," said C. W. Bubba Cascio, the Texas-born trainer of Logan's Draw. "The owner hit one of his biggest (oil) wells in a place called Logan's Draw."

Nevertheless, the luck of the "Draw" for Sunday's $50,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes had the juvenile colt getting the inside post, and that might be a helpful advantage to a horse who lost his last race by racing wide. The Spectacular Bid is Arlington's final major local prep for the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity, to be contested Sept. 19, closing day of Arlington's 2004 season.

"We think quite a bit of this colt," said Cascio, who also brought Keith McKinney & Jack Sweesy's Gold Storm to Chicago for Saturday's $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint. "We figured as long as we were coming up here, we might as well bring both of them.

"Logan's Draw broke his maiden right away," said Cascio, "but in that last race (second start), some of the other horses were having trouble in the gate, and when they finally kicked it (gates opened) he got left something terrible. Still, he only got beat a head after racing wide. We think he's got a little bit of talent."

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